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Economic Trinity: The Son

We walked through the doctrine of the Trinity, but really only focused on the essence of it.

There is another side to this discussion that can be missed that is of great importance --- what the three persons of the Trinity do.  Their works.

The first aspect of the Trinity is known as the “ontological Trinity.”

The second aspect is known as the “economic Trinity.”  And we did one podcast on the works of the Father.

Why study this?  Actually it is because God is not revealed as a deistic god --- meaning God is merely present and responsible for creation but not involved or really interested in it.

By the way, many today in the Church would fall under this idea of deism far more than they might like to admit.

Whenever you diminish the reality of God’s presence and interest in the activities and thoughts of both nations and individuals you are functioning in a deistic manner.

There is a great term in Latin, Coram Deo, which simply refers to the fact that every person is called to live with the understanding that all that they are and do occurs in the presence of God and it is to be for His glory and under His authority.  It is the essence of Romans 1.

Everything you see and don’t see is under the scrutiny of God and it is a worthy task to just shut up and stop regularly to simply contemplate what that looks like at any given moment.

The Works of the Son

We focused an entire episode on the Son’s deity as Jesus Christ, but the reality is that many will reject His deity because of a confusion between the two aspects of the Trinity.

Example: The Jehovah's Witnesses attempt to show Jesus as less than God because He does nothing on His own accord.

"Jesus therefore said, 'When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.'" (John 8:28-29)

The debate over the roles of men and women is another area of mixing up categories.  An example is the egalitarian feminist view that to subordinate the roles and functions of a woman as compared to a man is to diminish their essential being as bearers of God’s image. 

Complementarians point to the fact that the Son is equal with the Father but has differing roles from the Father. The end result is that many E.F. reject the idea of the economic Trinity.

Again…..theology matters.

The Subordination of The Son

He did, and does the will of the Father.

"Jesus said to them, 'My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.'"(Jn. 4:34)

"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (Jn. 5:30)

"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."

(Jn. 6:38)

This doctrine of subordination is not teaching that the Son is in someway inferior to the Father.

In fact, it is used by the Apostle John to show the equality of Jesus with the Father.  Only in Western ears does this sound negative.

Even in eternity past we see evidence that the Son was willingly in a subordinate position.

This is seen in passages such as Eph. 1:4 where it is the Father who chooses or elects those who will be in Christ. Christ does not.  

The same in John’s gospel.  The Father is the one who gave those whom Jesus was to save.

The idea of doing the will of the Father is seen as such an important concept to Jesus, because it shows His sinlessness and perfect obedience. But it also connects to the lives of those who say they follow Christ.

Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Matthew 12:50 "For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.

This subordination of the Son to the Father’s will is also important to the assurance of our salvation.

John 6:39 "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day."

For those who wish to say that one who has been saved by Christ can be lost, they must be able to first give an answer to how Christ perfectly obeyed the will of the Father if He loses some who were given to Him.


All of this is important because you will see this subordination throughout the texts that we will consider.

Christ’s works and duties:

The Creator of the Universe

"All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." (Jn. 1:3)


"For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created through Him and for Him." (Col. 1:16)

The Preserver of the Universe

"He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (Col. 1:17)


"in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," (Heb. 1:2-3)

The Giver of Life

"For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. 'For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 'Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.'"  (Jn. 5:21-27)

Note again the subordination of the Son here.

The Sin-Bearer

This is a big one because never does the bible make the Father the sin-bearer. And yet, the Oneness heresy makes Him that very thing. The only other option is to reject Jesus as God.  

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures," (1 Cor. 15:3)

"and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. (1 Pet. 2:24)

The Redeemer

The idea behind the word for “redeem” is out of the slave market.

"If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ." 

(1 Pet. 1:17-19)

"For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,  and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, 'LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.'"

(1 Cor. 1:26-31)

Consider these words in verse 30 ---

“wisdom from God.”  Goes back to Paul’s point in vss. 23-24.  The believer, the One, Jesus Christ, who is foolish (and a point of stumbling for the unbeliever), is God’s wisdom to us.

 Christ is our . . . (three things).

On judgment day, what shall you point to for your hope of righteousness?

Will it be your efforts to walk the Christian walk?

NO!  Let it be “Christ is my righteousness.”

As you proceed through your life, walking in the steps of Christ, (growing in respect to your salvation), what is the basis of your ability to be sanctified, to grow in holiness?

Will it be your power?  Your ability. Your efforts?

NO!  Let it be through the abiding presence of Jesus Christ.  He is the one who broke the power of sin and death.

And when you give an account as to why you are different; and why your sin is no longer a factor in your life-- and when you say that you have been saved and redeemed from your sin--  What will you point to?

Will it be your sacrifices?  Your prayers? Your trials and hardships? 

No!  It is Christ who is your redeemer.

"But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;  and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." (Heb. 9:11-12)

He Gathers God’s People

"even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd." (Jn. 10:15-16)

Titus 2:14 “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own (the purpose of the redeeming work) possession, zealous for good deeds.”

He is an example to God’s people

"For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. (Jn. 13:15)

"It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life." (1 Tim. 1:15-16)

Paul sees in his entire life in the light of God’s mercy.

In the work of Christ there is the promise of full forgiveness and full salvation.  Even for the greatest of sinners.

Notice Paul says “I am” not “I was.”  His own depravity was always before him.  And so that’s why he gloried in the Cross.  His salvation was not about him, it was about Christ and Christ’s work.

And it was to be as an example of the patience toward unbelievers who are afraid that God would not forgive them of “their” sins.

"Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps," (1 Pet. 2:18-21)

He is our Advocate, Mediator, and Intercessor

"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;" (1 Jn. 2:1)

"Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us." (Rom. 8:33-34)


'For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,"

(1 Tim. 2:5)

He is building His Church

"I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." (Matt. 16:18)

Because of this responsibility the bible also declares that he is the Head of the Body.

He is the Judge of the world

"For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him." (Jn. 5:22-23)

"I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction." (2 Tim. 4:1-2)


Just as we said in the last episode, that all the works of the Father display His grace. So too with the Son.

We see the beauty of that grace when we remember that though He was God, that being full of grace, he emptied himself of his glory and became a man to die for us.

We see the grace of Christ as we enjoy the glories and majesty of nature.  When we breathe deeply of clean air. When we get excited seeing a wild animal.  When we smile at the first hints of spring. By grace He created it with beauty and splendor.

We see the grace of Christ when he became cursed for us.  When he took upon himself our sins and bore them fully away.

We see His grace when we look at the tenderness of His speaking and caring for the people in need.

We see grace when we finally come to rest in the full and complete work of Jesus.  No longer striving, no longer seeking to be good enough. No longer trying to please God.  But rather coming to Christ and resting in Him.

So that is grace.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Therefore let us only boast in the Lord.


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